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Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
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2:08 PM 13th September 2020

Cut Unemployment Rate Now By Unlocking 600,000 Public Service Vacancies And Staff Gaps, Says TUC

A new TUC report published today sets out proposals for a public sector jobs drive to stave off mass unemployment and help the UK quickly recover from the Covid-19 recession.

The UK entered the Covid-19 crisis with our public services weakened by a decade of cuts. But public service workers gave their all to keep essential services going.

As we move out of the public health crisis, we are moving towards an economic crisis, with the Bank of England warning of mass unemployment with 2.5 million people out of work by the end of the year.

Creating decent jobs
The TUC’s report sets out a plan for public sector jobs to contribute to the fast employment growth the UK now needs.

It identifies the additional staff required across the public sector to fill vacancies, address shortfalls in provision and meet future need.

The union body is calling for government to urgently unlock the 600,000 jobs identified, including:

135,000 in health

220,000 in adult social care

110,000 in local government

80,000 in education

50,000 in civil service / public administration

Taken together with proposals published by the TUC in June to create 1.25 million jobs by fast-tracking green infrastructure investment, this plan could deliver a total of 1.85 million new jobs in the next two years.

Powering recovery
The TUC says that the government-led jobs drive would help support a stronger and faster private sector recovery too, with opportunities in supply chains and from the boost to spending power across the economy.

And it would help protect the Treasury from the revenue shortfall arising from the downside recovery scenario set out by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Under the OBR’s downside scenario, peak unemployment would be two million higher than for the upside scenario. TUC analysis of OBR data finds that the Treasury would lose out on £520bn in revenue over the next five years on the downside scenario relative to the upside.

The TUC says that the government must invest now to put the UK on the upside path - by preventing mass unemployment.

Otherwise the nation will suffer the high costs of mass unemployment, weak revenue and slow growth for many years ahead.

Frances O’Grady
Frances O’Grady
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Working people carried the burden of the pandemic. They must not bear the brunt of the recession. The government must go all out to protect and create jobs and prevent the misery of mass unemployment.

“The more people we have in work, the faster the recovery will be. But ministers are sitting on their hands. It’s absurd to leave unfilled vacancies and unmet need in public services when unemployment is rising. Ministers should urgently provide the funding that will unlock existing public services vacancies and create good new jobs.

“Our plan to invest in good public services jobs will help workers avoid unemployment. It will strengthen the vital services that we all rely on. And it will get people out spending in local business and services. That’s how to drive the recovery forward.”

Read the report at https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/congress%20jobs%20story_report.pdf